My colleague Katie recently posted about the upcoming royal wedding. But of course, public events involving royalty have not always been so benign. On January 21st 1793, ‘citizen’ Louis Capet – formerly Louis XVI of France – was taken by carriage to the Place de la Concorde (re-named Place de la Révolution at the time). Here, in front of a crowd of many thousands, the ex-king was beheaded. Although death at the hands of your people is about as low as […]
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Hope everyone enjoyed the holidays. If you got a bit bored of watching re-runs of the soaps while chewing on leftover turkey, you could have entertained yourself by tuning in to the Royal Institution’s Christmas Lectures. This year, materials scientist Mark Miodownik talked about everything from chocolate to elephants and you can still catch the lectures on BBC i-Player. The RI’s Christmas Lectures began in 1825 and have continued ever since, pausing only during World War II. The roll of past […]
Whether its Santa Claus, Kris Kringle or Father Christmas, we have quite a fixed image (soft-drink company influenced?) in our heads of what the man delivering presents down the chimney should look like. But could this be what the original ‘Santa’ really looked like…? This rather charming tabbarded fellow in our collections is Saint Nicholas. He looks distinctly un-santa-esque because he was in fact the Bishop of Myra (now south-west Turkey) during the third century. Pictured with three children, it’s not surprising to […]
Stories From The Stores is one year old today. Woo hoo! Over the past twelve months, we’ve told 200 stories about science, technology, engineering and medicine as captured in our remarkable collections of objects, pictures, books and archives. Our history – your history and mine – is embedded in the objects we’ve invented, made and used. Time flies, and we might forget this history if we didn’t collect stuff. Here, for instance, is a state-of-the-art aircraft flight exactly a century […]
I wonder if the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) had a little-known sub-section devoted to pigeon fanciers. A branch, perhaps (or a wing)? How else to explain the preponderance of interesting features high up on old buildings that are indistinct at street level but – presumably – clear as bread crumbs to passing pigeons? I was mulling this over yesterday as I squinted at the figures and details of The Treasury’s Whitehall pediment, and then again while attempting to make out the features […]
The Science Museum is formally over 100 years old. Over the century since 1909, it has had to compete with more and more media getting-in on the business of popular science. A hundred years ago, popular science publishing was already a big scene, as Peter Bowler shows in his enlightening new book, Science for All. Radio came along in the 1930s, and soon featured science. But our biggest competitor really got into its stride in the 1950s, when television began to […]
If ‘in space, no one can hear you scream’, as the publicity for the film Alien says, then certainly no one can hear Country music. Except, that is, if they are in a spaceship. Outer space is a vacuum and – like Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, the Apollo 11 crew – you can travel through it in a private capsule of sound. Each of the astronauts was allowed to take one tape on the mission, and Country music was […]
Gaetan Lee is organising tomorrow’s launch event for Cosmic Collections, our website competition. Find out a little more about what to expect. What should people expect at the event tomorrow? Well they should expect to get a chance to meet some great people and really get a chance to contribute – to a certain extent its going to be a user-generated event. By coming along they will be able to hear the story of eighteenth century astronomer Caroline Herschel from […]
What have you always wanted to ask a curator? You might have a question about the Science Museum’s exhibitions or galleries, about our collections, library and archives, or more general questions about life in a museum. Leave a comment and we’ll try to find the answer for you.